MERGER LEADERS: Robert E. Lewis (left), president of Argus Cameras, Inc., chats with Don G. Mitchell, president chairman of the board of directors of Sylvania Electric Products, Inc. Mr. Mitchell was greeted by top Argus executives last night at an informal reception following the announcement yesterday afternoon that Argus will be absorbed by the Sylvania firm.
President Of Sylvania Visits Officials In City
Lewis To Become Vice-President Of Parent Firm
Argus Cameras, Inc., will continue to manufacture and market its products under the Argus trade name.
This was made clear last night by the top executive of Sylvania Electric Products, Inc., the firm which will soon assume control of the local industry.
Don G. Mitchell, president of Sylvania and chairman of its board of directors, flew to Ann Arbor yesterday afternoon from New York City to meet key Argus leaders at an informal reception and dinner held at the Michigan Union.
“There absolutely will be no change of name for the Argus product and the marketing procedure followed through the years by the firm will be continued,” Mitchell told The News in an interview at the Union.
The announcement that Argus, Ann Arbor’s second largest industry, will become part of Sylvania, was made jointly at 1:15 p.m. yesterday in simultaneous statements issued here and in New York.
The announcement noted that the plan was approved yesterday by the Argus board of directors and it will be submitted soon to Argus stockholders. If they approve, Argus Cameras, Inc., will become a wholly owned “autonomous division” of Sylvania.
Mr. Mitchell boarded a plane at New York at 3 p.m., 45 minutes after the announcement of the merger was made there, to fly to Ann Arbor. He was met at Willow Run Airport by Robert E. Lewis, president of Argus.
At the Michigan Union, Mitchell was introduced to all top Argus executives.
The Sylvania president said Lewis will remain as president of the Argus firm and will become a vice-president of Sylvania.
Mitchell said there are no plans to shift the present Argus plant from Ann Arbor or even from its present location.
Procedure To Be Normal
“We’re not going to try to go hog-wild on any phase of manufacturing, research or marketing,” the Sylvania head said. “We’re going to go along as nearly normal as possible but of course with the hope that our mutual association will bring about bigger and better products.”
“To my way of thinking, this is the most ideal marriage in the history of industry,” Mitchell said.
Lewis said he and his entire staff were “very happy” over the move.
"With our association with Sylvania, the potentialities of Argus are tremendous,” Lewis noted. “We are looking forward to great advances and developments in the camera field.”
In answer to interview questions, Mitchell said it is as yet too early to make any definite statements concerning possible expansion of the Argus facilities.
"However I might say that research in the camera field will definitely be exploited," the Sylvania president said.
There are no changes contemplated by Sylvania in top management of Argus, Mitchell added. If any changes are made they will be "up," he said.
Further comment on the merger announcement led Mitchell to say: "I fell this way about it: Sylvania is vain enough to feel we are the top industry in the fields of light and electronics. I think there is no doubt that in its particular area of camera manufacture and sale, the Argus Camera company tops any competitor, anywhere. With the combining of these two powerful industries, it is inevitable that the consuming public will receive a product which surpasses any now on the market."
With the combining of Argus and Sylvania, the latter's net sales are expected to reach "an annual rate approaching 350 millions," Mitchell said.
It is not planned to bring any Sylvania-made products or plants to Ann Arbor as a result of the merger, Sylvania head said.
Sylvania photographic products include photoflash and photoflood amps and lamps for projectors, enlargers, darkrooms and photo studios. In addition, Sylvania is a major producer of television sets, radios and record players. The firm also manufacturers a wide variety of specialized electronic equipment and has recently entered the atomic research field in a plant at Long Island, N. Y.
With the acquisition of Argus, Sylvania will have a total of 47 plants and 19 laboratories in 14 states. Argus’ 1,100 employees will swell total Sylvania employment to almost 30,000 workers with a payroll of more than 125 million dollars.
Have Worked Together
Mitchell said last night at the Union that his company and the Argus firm have worked together in national advertising and have co-operated in other fields for several years.
Lewis and Mitchell both said the combining of the two firms was “a natural and a logical move.”
The actual merger move was perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of the industrial world. There had been periodic rumors in Ann Arbor that Argus might be purchased by a larger firm but until yesterday’s announcement was made, there was no hint of actual progress.
Under the proposed reorganization, Argus stockholders will receive one share of Sylvania common stock in exchange for 2.1 shares of Argus common stock. There are 451,628 Argus shares outstanding.
Details of the proposal, along with the Argus directors’ recommendation that it be accepted, will be mailed to Argus shareholders soon. The annual Argus stockholders meeting is set for Nov. 21. Final action on the proposal will be taken then.